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Judicial self-governance in Albania

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Since after the collapse of communist system Albania has had three different judicial councils. The first judicial council was established after the fall of communism in 1992, following the models of other post-communist countries in the CEE. The second judicial council was established by the 1998 Constitution, with the aim to strengthen and improve the existing council, to better defend it from political interference. Unfortunately, even this second council did not achieve the mission granted and in 2018, with the new justice reform, a new judicial council was established. The three models of judicial councils that Albania has endorsed were based on the best European standards for self-governance drafted by different European rule of law forums.

However, as it will be shown by this article, the success of having an independent and accountable judicial council, it is not just a matter of just following the best European models. Although, the European standards on the judicial council’s composition and competence are important and preconditions to have an independent and accountable council, the success of the model implemented would be determined by local factors, unwritten rules, reputation and legitimacy of the judicial council and the general level of respect of rule of law in the country.

This article will be divided into three parts. The first part will cover the status and constitutional mandate of the three judicial councils in Albania, by making a comparison of their composition and status and identifying some of the perils and threats the judicial self-governance in Albania. The aim of this part is to draw some lessons learned from the failure of the two previous council, in order to avoid the repetition of the same mistakes, sometimes disguised as new problems. In the second and third part it will be analyzed the current election of the members of the HJC and its activity, not only emphasizing the new mechanisms of guarantees that are in place, but also trying to show how the road towards legitimacy and sustainability of the judicial council is still full of challenges and threats.

Judicial self-governance in Albania

 

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